Baseball Travels to No. 5 Louisville for Three Games This Weekend

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Catcher Brett Booth enters the weekend leading the Crimson Tide eight offensive categories
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Catcher Brett Booth enters the weekend leading the Crimson Tide eight offensive categories
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

March 7, 2013

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama Crimson Tide (8-4) will travel to Louisville, Ky., for three games against the nationally ranked Louisville Cardinals (9-2) this weekend. The series begins on Friday with a 2 p.m. CT first pitch from Jim Patterson Stadium. Game two and three of the series will begin at noon CT, on Saturday and Sunday.

The games on Friday and Sunday will be on 95.3 FM, and due to a scheduling conflict with Alabama men’s basketball on Saturday, the middle game of the series will be on 790 AM, with Lee Tracey providing the commentary for all three games of the series. Livestats will also be available on RollTide.com. A live webcast of all three games of the series will be available through the Louisville website at www.gocards.com/CardsTV, as part of the school’s subscription package.

The Crimson Tide is coming off a 6-3 loss to Auburn in the MAX Capital City Classic on Tuesday night. After opening the season with a 6-0 start, Alabama has dropped four of its last six games. After losing the first game of the season to Indiana (L, 2-0), No. 5 Louisville ran off nine straight wins, before suffering a 3-2 loss to Kent State on March 3.

Alabama is slated to start senior RHP Charley Sullivan (0-1, 4.20) on Friday, sophomore LHP Jon Keller (2-1, 3.60) on Saturday and sophomore RHP Spencer Turnbull (0-1, 3.77) on Sunday. Louisville is scheduled to start junior RHP Chad Green (2-1, 1.59) Friday, junior RHP Jeff Thompson (3-0, 1.02) Saturday and sophomore RHP Jared Ruxer (0-0, 2.51) Sunday.

Probable Pitching Matchups
FRIDAY                             W-L  ERA   G/GS  IP    H   R   ER  BB  SO
UA-Charley Sullivan (Sr., RHP)     0-1  4.20  3/3   15.0  21  9   7   5   23
LOU-Chad Green (Jr., RHP)          2-1  1.59  3/3   17.0  14  3   3   3   11

SATURDAY                           W-L  ERA   G/GS  IP    H   R   ER  BB  SO
UA-Jon Keller (Soph., LHP)         2-1  2.60  3/3   15.0  16  7   6   5   24
LOU-Jeff Thompson (Jr., RHP)       3-0  1.02  3/3   17.2  11  3   2   6   25

SUNDAY                             W-L  ERA   G/GS  IP    H   R   ER  BB  SO
UA-Spencer Turnbull (Soph., RHP)   0-1  3.77  3/3   14.1  19  11  6   6   9
LOU-Jared Ruxer (Soph., RHP)       0-0  2.51  3/3   14.1  18  6   4   1   13

During his five-game hit streak entering the weekend, UA first baseman Austen Smith is hitting .471 (8-for-17) with a double, six RBI and two runs scored. Brett Booth continues to lead the team in average (.353), runs (14), slugging percentage (.471), walks (13) and on-base percentage (.531). Freshman leadoff man Georgie Salem has reached base safely in all 12 games this season and is second on the team with a .333 average. Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard has filled out the lineup card at the Capstone 197 times in four years. Sunday’s game at Louisville will make his 200th game as the head coach of the Tide.

The Louisville Cardinals enter the weekend series with a 9-2 record, and have won nine of their last 10 games. After winning nine straight games, the Cardinals are coming off a 3-2 loss to wrap up the Kent State series. Louisville is ranked as high as No. 5 by Baseball America. The Cardinals are 14th by Perfect Game, 19th in the Collegiate Baseball poll, and No 20 in the coaches and writers polls. The Cardinals are hitting .327 as a team, while averaging 8.4 runs and 11.1 hits per game. Louisville had also been a menace on the base paths, as they are 50-of-62 in stolen base opportunities this season. On the pitching side, the Cardinals have a 1.82 ERA with a .222 opponents’ batting average through 99 innings pitched. Louisville has recorded 112 strikeouts while allowing just 24 walks this season for a 4.6:1 strikeout to walk ratio.

Offensively, Louisville is led by Sutton Whiting who is hitting .500 with a team-high 12 RBI in 11 games. Whiting, who leads the team with a .719 slugging percentage, also has a team-high seven walks for a team-leading .585 on-base percentage. Nick Ratajczak, who is hitting .333 for the season, leads the team with 14 runs scored.  Adam Engel is second on the club with 10 RBI, while hitting .333, and Danny Rosenbaum is second on the squad with a .355 average to go along with a double, a triple, a home run and nine RBI.

Saturday starter Chad Green is 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA in three starts this season. In 17.0 innings, Green has given up three runs on 14 hits with 11 strikeouts and three walks. Jeff Thompson, who will start Saturday, is 3-0 with a 1.02 ERA. Thompson leads the team with 25 strikeouts, while allowing 11 hits in 17.2 innings. Sunday starter Jared Ruxer has made three starts and does not have a decision yet this season. He has a 2.51 ERA, allowing six runs (four earned) in 14.1 innings.

The weekend series between Alabama and Louisville will mark games 14-16 all-time in the series. After posting a 7-6 win over No. 20 Louisville in Tuscaloosa last season, Alabama holds an 11-2 advantage overall. In the last game, Louisville held a 3-1 lead, before UA scored five runs in the fourth and fifth innings to take a 6-3 lead. After Louisville scored once in the seventh and twice in the eighth to tie the game, Alabama scored the game-winning run on the eighth on an RBI bunt single by Jon Kelton. The teams first met in 1975, and split the four-game series 2-2. Since winning the fourth game of that series in 1975, Alabama has gone on to win the last 10 straight over the Cardinals. Alabama head coach is 1-1 all-time against Louisville, which includes a 1-0 record in his time at the Capstone.

Following the series against the Cardinals, Alabama returns home to begin a five-game home stand against Memphis on Tuesday. Alabama will play a pair of midweek games against the Tigers, as the teams will also play on Wednesday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. First pitch for both games are scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CT. Tuesday’s game will mark the first between Alabama and Memphis since the 2006 season. Alabama is 12-5 all-time against the Tigers following a 2-0 loss to Memphis on Feb. 21, 2006, when the teams last met.

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